Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why Figure Skating Is Not A Sport

I didn't write this. But I agree with everything here.

Why figure skating is not a sport, by Dan Wetzel.

An excerpt:

But figure skating is a competition, not a sport, and it has nothing to do with how difficult or entertaining it is. It is simply a matter of how the winner is determined. It is the same for gymnastics, diving, beauty pageants or anything that chooses a champion solely by human judging.

A sport needs to have a quantifiable way to determine a winner and a loser. There can be no debate about the scoring system. A ball must go into a goal or through a hoop; a runner must reach home or finish before the others. The winners run faster, jump higher, score more.

In some sports a clock is used to determine a winner, but the clock is not subjective. Besides, you can't have 53 guys racing down a ski hill at the same time. The clock is a judge, but it is an objective one.

Figure skating has none of this. Everything is about interpretation of success. It is about what the judge thinks, believes, feels. There is nothing absolutely quantifiable. Yes, the number of revolutions in a jump counts, but in the end if two people do the same jump, a human has to decide which one he or she likes better.

That is not a sport.

As far as I am concerned, Dan's preaching to the choir.

The Torino Subjective Games 2006.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Unseen (Accurate!) Movie Reviews

Failure To Look In Mirror Before Going Out.

The old saying is that you can't judge a book by its cover.

However, you can ( least I can) judge a movie by its trailer.

In Part One of a continuing series, I present to you the Unseen (Accurate!) Movie Review for the film Failure To Launch, starring Matthew McNakedonpotahey and Sarah Horseface Bueller.

The Yahoo! Movie summary provides the following:

A thirtysomething man who still lives with his parents falls in love with the woman of his dreams and begins to suspect she has been hired by his parents as a way to get him out of the house.

Does it get any better than two fortysomething actors playing thirtysomething roles in a gimmicky romantic comedy targeted toward middle-aged housewives who think that Sex And The City is the television equivalent of the Analects of Confucius? I think not.

Let's look at the trailer, shall we?

My, my...

Starbucks, flying sushi, Hobblin' Annie Wilkes, & Terry Bradshaw. Who could possibly ask for more?

Would-be movie goers, let this be a red-alert to you: Whenever you see in a film trailer that Terry Bradshaw has been cast in a speaking role, save your $8.75 and stay far, far away. Don't even put the movie in your "maybe I'll rent that later" list. Throw away the television on which you viewed the trailer. Disinfect the carpet where the television formerly sat.

This was obviously an attempt on the part of the filmmakers to attract male slack-jawed yokels who may not have otherwise been persuaded to attend a romantic comedy. And, undoubtedly, this tactic will work on many thousands of these poor souls, driving them from their Sunday recliners, garbage bag-sized sacks of pork rinds and Van Damme movie marathons on WTBS.

The bottom line is that you'd be better off taking your $8.75 and eating it, flushing it, or donating it to the Help Bill Gates Retire Comfortably Fund.

This film is complete and utter crap. Failure To Launch? More like Failure To Act. Failure To Deliver Screenplay Worth A Shit. Failure To Think. Take your pick.

Film: Failure To Launch
Rating: *

Explanation of Rating System:
* Complete and Utter Crap
** Generally Craptastic, With Some Very Minor Redeeming Qualities
*** Passable, With Slight Hint Of Crappiness
**** No Crappiness At All
***** Approaching Masterpiece, The Complete Opposite of Crap
****** Masterpiece

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ChipWatch 2006

Quick Chip Update:

As of February 15, 4:11 PM, still no response from Stacy's. Ninth day now without a response. The lack of a response is making me less and less likely each day to want to order an official Stacy's Nalgene Water Bottle or Pen On A Rope.

Yet, I admit...the chips were so good, we ended up buying another bag of them. Well, I should say, we ended up buying another quarter bag of them.

More updates to follow.

St. Valentine's Day (of the Dead)

The above picture was taken inside the local Kroger, near the florist department, at 4:53 PM on February 14, 2006.

Valentine's Day, or what it has become, is one of my pet peeves.

I inevitably find myself inside a Kroger on February 14, because my one and only Valentine's Day tradition is to make a nice dinner for my wife and myself. And this truly is a big deal, because if left to my own vices, a sleeve of Saltines, a Kraft American cheese single, and a can of Spaghetti-Os constitutes a "pretty good" dinner.

And every year it's the same scene: middle-aged men milling about the well-picked greeting cards or gazing vacantly into the floral refrigerators with long trails of drool oozing from the corners of their mouths. If George Romero ever gets around to doing a fifth installment of his "Dead" series (and it could be in the works), the Kroger floral department on February 14 would be a nice shooting location.

This is a holiday? I suspect many men engage in these yearly exercises due to some deeply-embedded sense of obligation, either self-imposed, or imposed by significant others.

Indeed, observing these sad creatures shuffle their way across the fluorescent-lit flooring makes me wonder if there is any real feeling in their purchases, or whether the money is forked over without thought like some pseudo-social obligatory enactment or a mindless mid-February ritual.

Nuts to that, I say. Nuts to that.

Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one? (Part 3)

Diet Pepsi has enlisted the considerable "talents" of Sean "Puff Diddy Daddy Puffy" Combs and launched an ad campaign based around a tune entitled "Brown & Bubbly." Yes, that's right: "Brown & Bubbly."

I'll tell's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Product: Diet Pepsi

Slogan: Brown & Bubbly

Every other brown cola on the market, of which there are quite a few, has passed on the "brown & bubbly" slogan, even though it is of universal applicability. This slogan speaks nothing to the taste of the product. It speaks simply to the color of the product ('s brown), and the fact that it contains carbonated water -- like ALL SODAS on the market do.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Torino Subjective Games 2006

Ah, the Winter Olympics are upon us once again, which once again fuels the fires of my neverending crusade to do away with subjectively-scored "sporting" events in the Olympics.

Here's just a few of the reasons why subjectively-scored Olympic sports suck:

1. They suck because they invite bribery and event fixing. Salt Lake City, 2002. Nagano, 1998.

2. They suck because they invite bias and national favoritism. Athens, 2004.

3. They suck because they include figure skating and gymnastics.

Pete Hamill of the New York Daily News sums it up nicely here.

...the Winter Olympics are filled with events that have nothing to do with sports. How is figure skating a sport? To me, it's dancing with skates on, a skill but not a sport. Like all other professional dancers, the dancers-on-skates endure long months of rehearsal. Music is essential to the act, so the musical choices are made with care. They emphasize "beauty" in its 19th century form, with long lines of melody to support those long gliding movements by the beskated dancers. Points are awarded on mysterious subjective grounds, all based on aesthetics, not true competition. They don't really compete against one another, because all choose different music. They are competing with Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.

Switching over to Summer Olympics mode for just a second, some of you might be thinking, "Well, boxing is a pretty cool Olympic sport that is subjectively scored!"

Do you recall this, by any chance? Do you recall a boxer named Roy Jones, Jr. (Seoul 1988)? How about one named Evander Holyfield (Los Angeles, 1984)?

Here are a few suggestions to improve the Olympic Games:

1. Figure Skating: Scrap the music. Scrap the aesthetic element. Have all skaters compete in specific, individual skill events. For instance, first is the Triple Loop event. Anyone who falls or cannot complete the jump is eliminated. Continue from there, with increasingly difficult jumps and maneuvers, and the last person standing wins. Scrap the skating in pairs crap, because after all, it's just ice dancing.

2. Gymnastics: Same idea as figure skating. No "routines." Specific, individual events. Can't do one? You fall down? See ya in 4 years.

3. Boxing: This one's easy. Scrap the scoring. It's either win by KO or TKO. That's it.

4. Diving. Similar to #1 and #2. Don't allow the divers to select their own dives; give each one a specific one to do that all must do in a given round. That'll eliminate the stupid "degree of difficulty" crap. Place floating rings in the water that the divers must go through. If they don't go through cleanly, they are out.

5. And finally, if any of the above methods prove nonfeasible without some degree of subjectivity entering into the scoring, ELIMINATE IT as an Olympic sport.

Hey, criticize badminton, ping-pong and curling all you want to as Olympic sports -- but they're A-OK in my book. Player-determined scoring, you say? I say thumbs-up.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one? (Part 2)

Not having shunned terrestrial radio entirely as of yet, still semi-addicted to local sports talk shows and live sports events, I am regularly subjected to an advertisement for the Ohio Lottery that is truly bad. It ends with a slogan that meets the criteria, in spades, for Part Two of my continuing series.

Product: The Ohio Lottery

Slogan: Odds Are, You'll Have Fun.

Scratching tiny silver thin layers of latex from an index card is fun?

Watching ping-pong balls with all the wrong numbers get vaccum-sucked into a collecting tube is your idea of a rockin' Tuesday night?

No, the odds are you'll waste your money.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?

I have noticed that many product slogans seem very poorly thought out. In Part One of a series, I look at one of these slogans for a new product, Children's Pepto-Bismol.

Product: Children's Pepto-Bismol.

Slogan: Children's Pink: It Does More Than You Think.

The Children's Pepto-Bismol website provides that this product provides relief from the following ailments: heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, and upset stomach.

You know, the same relief from the ailments that regular Pepto-Bismol has for years provided to adults.

Wouldn't those ailments be what you would think Children's Pepto-Bismol would relieve? Ah, but it does
more than you think!

Now, call me crazy, but any medication that does more than I would think it would do is generally not a medication that I want to ingest. I might be old school, but I rather frown on hidden side effects.

There's no denying the appeal of those flavors, however. Watermelon and Bubble Gum? Sign me up! Sure, in the process of relieving my irritable bowel I might have heart palpitations, headaches, and psychedelic visions of tiny gophers floating on fluffy pink clouds, but that'd be a small price to pay.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Memo to Stacy: fill the damn bag.

I normally don't write letters of complaint. However, in this case, I thought that justice required it. If I receive a response from the good folks at Stacy's, I'll post it here.

Dear Sir or Madam:

While my wife and I very much enjoyed the "Simply Naked" Pita Chips we purchased from the local Kroger, I am writing to express my extreme displeasure in the quantity of product I discovered upon opening the bag.

Now, such a thing is not new to me. For years, I've been opening bags of Lays or Doritos only to find a sizeable portion of bag that is chipless.

However, I have seen nothing like the vast wasteland that comprised nearly three-fourths (yes, that's 75%) of the Stacy's Pita Chip bag. That's right: seventy-five percent of the bag was empty.

The entire contents of the bag were consumed in under 6 minutes by two people. Yes, the product was delicious, but it would have been nice to have had *more* product to consume at some future date.

Keep up the fine work producing delicious Pita Chips, guys. But please, for all that is good and righteous, could you please fill the bags at least HALF-way?

Thank you.

The Guest Book on Stacy's Pita Chips website is chock full of no-holds-barred adoration for Stacy, her cohort Mark, and their chips. I was amused by Dwayne's comment, however.

Dwayne from WA

Oct 15, 2002

Gee Stacy, I tried your chips on retreat at primal scream therapy and whaddya know - I found myself closer to god! Since my family have tried them, it's cured Billy-Bob of his athlete's foor and my wife can finally pee sitting down once more! Hallelujah! Jesus, they're just chips people!

Dwayne, hopefully you're still out there, fighting the good fight.

They're just chips, people.

But it'd be nice to have a full bag of them.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Michael's Way? I think not.

So I'm watching one of those Access Hollywood/Entertainment Tonight/Mindless Crap tabloid TV shows last night. Not by choice, mind you. No, this was the wife's doing. Anyhoo, they are airing some segment about Michael Bolton and make mention of his new album in the works, a cover album of Frank Sinatra songs.

Apparently, this project was all thanks to Michael's "new" love interest, Nicollette Sheridan.

Now I ask you...

What mindless cretin is going to one day think to himself, "Gee...I really want to hear some Sinatra right about now. Why don't I put on
Michael Bolton's version of 'My Way'?"

If you want to listen to Sinatra, listen to Sinatra. If you want to listen to a talentless asshat blasphemously stumble his way through a pop classic from the golden era of music, by all means, put on Michael Bolton.